Baingan bharta (Indian eggplant bharta)


Baingan bharta is a traditional dish made with grilled eggplants, onions, tomatoes & spices. Try out this easy recipe to make delicious & simply flavorful Punjabi baingan ka bharta. Serve it with roti, paratha or rice. It also goes well with toasted bread, naan or just as a side in a meal.

baingan bharta

What is baingan bharta?

Baingan bharta is a vegetarian Indian dish where eggplants are grilled over hot charcoal, mashed and then mixed or cooked with onions, tomatoes & spices.

It originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent & is a very common dish made for regular meals.

Since it is made in many parts of India there are a few different ways of making it. However the Punjabi baingan bharta is the most common one served in the Indian restaurants.

Traditionally baingan was grilled on hot charcoal which imparts its characteristic smoky flavor to the dish. These days a lot of people also grill these on the stovetop & oven.

eggplant bharta recipe

About this recipe

This recipe is roughly adapted from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor & over the years I have made it numerous times trying out different methods of grilling eggplants including on charcoal. So in this post I have shared making baingan bharta along with 3 methods of grilling.

After cooking this for so many years, I can say that a good baingan ka bharta made with charcoal grilled eggplants don’t need too many spices as we don’t want to lose the real smoky flavor & taste.

The bharta that is served in standard restaurants is so much flavorful for the same reason as it is made with charcoal grilled eggplants.

However most of us don’t have a charcoal grill provision at home, so we either prefer to do it on a stovetop or in oven. But these methods of grilling don’t give the same flavors but somewhat close by.

So I prefer to spice up our baingan bharta with some garam masala. It’s purely a personal preference and you may skip it.

Related recipes you may like to check
Samosa Recipe
Aloo Paratha
Paneer tikka
Dum aloo

Step-by-step photos

Preparation

1. Rinse eggplants well under running water. Wipe dry with a kitchen tissue. Make 6 slits on the baingan and push 4 garlic cloves deep inside the slits. Also slit a chilli and push it inside. Then brush a generous amount of oil all over the baingan. Garlic and chilli has to go deep inside otherwise they will burn.

garlic and green chill studded eggplants getting brushed with oil

2. With the help of a tong, place the eggplant over direct flame or on red hot coal. You can also do it in a Air fryer or oven. I have shared the pictures and instructions below for the same.

roasting eggplants on direct fire on stovetop

3. Keep turning the eggplant to all the other sides especially on the bottom and grill well until charred.

holding baingan with a tong over direct flame

4. When done, the skin of the eggplant is completely charred and becomes soft. Pierce a fork inside the baingan to check. The fork goes in smoothly if it’s cooked completely.

inserting fork into the grilled eggplant for bharta

5. Peel the skin. Optiona: – You can also put it immediately in a large bowl and cover for about 5 mins. Baingan will sweat and the skin will loosen easily.

peeled eggplants getting ready for bharta

6. Fine chop or mash the eggplant with a fork or a masher. Chop the grilled garlic & green chilies as well. This time mine had a lot of seeds, I carefully removed them and discarded.

chopped baingan garlic and chilies for making bharta

How to make baingan bharta

7. Pour oil to a hot pan. When the oil turns hot, add ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until a nice aroma comes out. I used mustard oil. You may use any other regular oil.

frying ginger and garlic in mustard oil

8. Then add fine chopped onions and saute until light golden.

adding chopped onions to hot pan

9. Add chopped tomatoes & salt. Cook until the tomatoes break down & become soft. I used grilled tomatoes here.

adding chopped tomatoes to sauteed onions

10. Then add red chilli powder & cook until the raw smell of tomatoes goes away.

adding red chilli powder

11. Add mashed garlic, green chilli & eggplants. You can use only half of the green chilies at this point. Taste test and add later.

adding mashed eggplants garlic and chilli

12. Mix and mash a bit with spatula to blend everything well. We prefer a bit of garam masala as the eggplants are not charcoal grilled. You may skip it but read my tips & notes below.

adding garam masala

13. Mix well and cook for 3 to 4 mins on a medium heat. Taste test and add more salt if needed.

Sauteing baingan bharta in a pan

14. Garnish with coriander leaves.

garnishing with coriander leaves

Serve baingan bharta with roti, paratha, butter naan or plain rice. It also goes well with some toasted bread.

baingan bharta ready to serve in a bowl

Roasting eggplants in air fryer

The flavor of eggplants grilled in air fryer comes close to the charcoal grilled ones. You can grill the eggplants whole or cut to 2 parts. Brush some oil over it & keep it in the air fryer basket along with tomatoes, green chilies and garlic.

eggplants garlic tomatoes chilies in air fryer basket

Place the basket in the air fryer and air fry at 200 C or 400 F for 22 mins or until done. If you cut it to 2 parts, then cut down the time to 15 mins or so. Sometimes I also use the smaller purple eggplants and they take just about 13 mins. Cool them and remove the skin. Follow the recipe as mentioned for the next steps.

air fried eggplants

Roasting eggplants in oven

Place an aluminium foil over a metal baking tray. Cut each eggplant to 2 parts and make 2 slits on each part. Insert the garlic cloves and green chilies deep inside the slits. Place the eggplants & tomatoes in the tray.

garlic chilli studded eggplants ready for broiling in oven

Broil/Grill them at 240 C or 460 F in oven for 16 to 18 mins. When done, a fork inserted into the eggplant goes smoothly. Eggplants grilled in oven do not get any smoky flavor so you may smoke the bharta using a red hot coal once done.

broiled eggplants tomatoes in a pan

Tips & notes

Choosing eggplants: Bharta is best made with large purple baingan that are firm and have a glossy skin. Avoid over-matured eggplants or those having brown streaks as they have more seeds. Eggplants with lesser seeds have better flavor, are pulpy and will have a smoother texture once cooked.

But after grilling them if you find seeds, then simply scoop them out and discard. You will be left with lesser servings of bharta.

Grilling: Eggplants grilled over hot coal get the best smoky flavor. Air frying them is the next best I have felt. You may do it on the gas stovetop or in oven as well. But the flavors are not the same in oven.

Grilling on gas: We don’t prefer grilling on gas for personal reasons. However if you want to do it as shown in the pictures above, place a gas stove burner cover to collect the drippings. Also ensure your eggplant is at room temperature before grilling.

Spices: Eggplants grilled on hot coal have so much intense smoky flavor so the dish does not need any spice powders/ masala other than a bit of red chilli powder. But grilling them on gas stovetop or oven does not impart the same flavors. So garam masala brings a lot of flavor here.

If you are grilling the eggplants on charcoal, then you may skip garam masala as the original smoky flavor itself is so good.

Related Recipes

Recipe

baingan bharta recipe

Baingan bharta

Indian eggplant bharta made with grilled eggplants, spices, onions, tomatoes and coriander leaves. It goes well as a side with roti, rice or even with bread.

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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )

Instructions

Grilling eggplants

  • On Direct Fire: With the help of a tong, place it on direct fire. You can do it either on the red hot coal or stovetop. Keep turning it to all the other sides and grill until it is done completely roasted. It takes about 12 to 14 mins.

  • To grill in oven: Line a metal tray with foil. Cut each eggplant to 2 parts and place them on the tray with the skin side on top. You can also place the tomatoes in the same tray. Broil/Grill them at 460 F or 240 C for 16 to 18 mins.

  • In air fryer: Place baingan, chilies, garlic and tomatoes in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 400 F or 200 C. It takes roughly about 22 mins for the whole eggplant, 16 mins if you halve the eggplant & air fry.

  • Once done, check by inserting a fork into the eggplant. It should go in smoothly & easily meaning it is soft and cooked well. (Check step-by-step photos above)

  • Cool the eggplant and peel the skin. Optionally – Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and cover it for 5 mins. Once done remove the skin.

  • Mash or chop the eggplant, grilled garlic and green chilies. Keep these aside. Chop the tomatoes, onions and raw garlic as well.

How to make baingan bharta

NUTRITION (estimation only)

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 973mg | Potassium: 1000mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1081IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 2mg

Notes

  • Traditional bharta does not use garam masala as the charcoal grilled eggplants will have a unique flavor of its own. Since I do not grill my eggplants on charcoal grill we do prefer garam masala. However it is a personal preference and you may skip it if you don’t like.
  • For extra heat (spice) in the dish, you can use more green chilies. Adding more red chili powder will alter the flavor of the bharta.
  • You can add half teaspoon cumin seeds to the oil before frying the ginger garlic. 
  • Use eggplants that have a smooth and glossy skin. Avoid over-matured eggplants with lots of seeds.
  • After grilling the eggplants if you find seeds inside, just scoop them out and discard.
  • For more authentic flavors & taste, grill eggplants on red hot coal.
  • Adjust the amount of spices and tomatoes to your taste.
  • For more tang add some lemon juice while serving.

 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

FOR MORE RECIPES

Baingan bharta (Eggplant bharta)



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